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ELC Testimonials

  • Headshot of Jolene Mason

    Jolene Mason

    What value has being a member of the ELC brought to your life? 

    Being a part of the ELC has broaden my awareness and knowledge of the importance of high-quality early education programs and the long-term effects that they have on the lives of children. In addition, I’m more aware of the critical need for truly livable wages for Child Care/Essential Workers, as witnessed by the onset of Covid-19.  ELC has also made me a better “Amma” (grandmother), because my involvement has also helped me to better understand the social/emotional development and needs of my own grandchildren and how I can help nurture their growth.  I’ve made it a practice of sharing the things that I’ve learned with other parents/grandparents/caregivers, including my own children. 

    How has the ELC impacted your connectedness to your neighbors/community?

    ELC has played an important role in connecting me to valuable community resources that I share with parents and community members. More importantly, ELC has allowed me to make deeper connections with people who are also invested in the success of our babies from the very start of their lives. 

    What would you say to someone who is considering joining?

    Your voice is needed!  Your participation in ELC shows that you are invested in creating and sustaining positive early childhood experiences that counteract adverse experiences for children, whether you are a parent of young children or someone who truly cares about them and their futures as well as the future of our communities. I’d also reiterate that learning and education occurs everywhere, at home, in school and in the community which confirms that we should embrace opportunities to be “teachers” and advocates while recognizing that we can make a difference in the life of a child/children. 

    Provide a memory/story about an impactful ELC action or interaction you had

    ELC’s courage to tackle difficult topics through its virtual conversation series showed the commitment and lengths that ELC would go to find ways to support families and the issues they face.  I was even invited to share my personal story “Rondo: Racism from the Experiences of a Young Child”.  It is my intent to turn my story into a children’s book and the feedback that I received helped me to create a product truly tailored to/for children.  

  • Jessica Kopp sitting in front of a bookcase

    Jessica Kopp

    Spoiler: I love Early Learning Coalitions. When I first joined it seemed like a natural extension of the volunteer and leadership work I was doing in schools and it was - but I quickly learned it was something more and different. Being a part of the ELC deepened existing connections I had and it opened doors to new ones. It also expanded and improved my thinking and practice around organizing and project planning. I've met dozens of wonderful people doing all kinds of great work in my community and beyond which filled me with inspiration and determination. 

    I continue to learn so much from the many different people I meet through partner organizations and have always been supported and encouraged to apply what I'm learning to real-life projects. I have learned the value of taking action, even if it seems small. I used to be caught in the desire to perfect the bigger picture and it kept me from moving on smaller pieces that were important and ready to go. I think about that in everything I do now. I still like big picture thinking and planning and now understand the value of small moves within it. 

    For anyone thinking about joining their local ELC, I'd say - go for it! The wonderful thing about ELCs is that they benefit from a variety of experiences and skills; there isn't one way to be an ELC or an ELC member - they are both dynamic, always growing and changing and responding to the current moment. There's a place for everyone. The ELCs put their trust in people to know what their community needs and provides the tools and stable network for that work to happen. It sounds like magic but really it's just what happens when purpose, love, and hard work get together. It's pretty amazing. 



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  • For general inquiries about Early Learning Coalitions, contact Nee Xiong at nee.xiong@spps.org.